Years ago, when our oldest daughter was a preschooler, she said a prayer that continues to speak to me almost two decades later. She was going through the normal list of thank yous, Thank you for this, thank you for that, thank you for . . .
When she got to the end of her list she said something that caught our attention.
“And thank you God for all the ridiculous things you do!”
At first I thought this was a cute, funny misuse of an ununderstood word by a young child, but the more I thought about it, the more it began to dawn on me that I was the one who didn’t understand.
Meriam-Webster defines ridiculous this way:
arousing or deserving ridicule: extremely silly or unreasonable: absurd, preposterous, ludicrous.
When you look at scripture, it does seem to abound with absurdities:
Paul tells the Corinthians:
For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:10)
Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe. (1 Corinthians 1:21)
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.
And what about the words of Jesus:
If you cling to your life, you will lose it, and if you let your life go, you will save it. (Luke 17:33)
When Jesus told Nicodemus he had to be “born again,” I believe Nicodemus found that to be a bit preposterous. Jesus also spoke of loving your enemies, blessing those who persecute you, but hating your father and mother. And what about the verses where he mentions gouging out eyes and cutting off hands if they cause you to sin. (John 3:1-21, Matthew 5, Luke 14:26)
Jesus words often aroused ridicule among the crowd.
The time for judging this world has come, when Satan, the ruler of this world, will be cast out. And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself. He said this to indicate how he was going to die.
The crowd responded, “We understood from Scripture that the Messiah would live forever. How can you say the Son of Man will die? Just who is this Son of Man, anyway?” John 12:31-34
How can you say the Son of Man will die? Just who is this Son of Man, anyway?
The prince who became a pauper.
The mighty who became weak.
The served who became a servant.
The worshiped who became rejected.
The sinless who became sin.
The one who died so we can live.
It’s preposterous. Absurd. Silly.
Why should I gain from his reward?
I do not have an answer.
But this I know with all my heart.
His wounds have paid my ransom.*
It defies human wisdom. It’s Ludicrous. It’s Ridiculous.
And so we pray, Thank you, God, for all the ridiculous things you do!
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*How Deep The Father’s Love for Us (Stuart Townend)